Monday July 24, 2006
July 24, 2006
Shalom to all,
I'd like to update you on some of the wonderful support we are getting for my brother's project of relocating people away from the rocketed areas.
Alvin Perelman and Lori Weintraub from Scotsdale have raised enough money to allow 80 people to spend the next 6 nights as guests of Alonei HaBashan and Keshet, far from the fighting. Kol Hakavod.
A special thanks to Rabbi Shmaya Shmotkin and Liza Wiemer from Milwaukee for organizing a Shabbat dinner to raise money for the relocation project.
Please note that the money forwarded to Alonei HaBashan is used exclusively to house and feed people who are being temporarily relocated from areas being shelled. And I'd like to explain why this is so important for the family living in Carmiel, Hazor or any other area being rocketed.
The people being temporarily relocated are moved out for 3 reasons:
1. safety so they don't get hurt or killed by rockets
2. to take a breather from living in their bomb shelters
3. to get a few night's sleep without living under the constant shelling or air raid siren
A little more background on these people's daily life.
Many people live in apartment buildings and all the families share the shelter. The shelter is usually without water and washrooms. It is one large room with concrete walls, floor and ceiling, no pictures, no windows. All the people in the building sleep on cots or mattresses one beside the other. Most shelters have no airconditioning or air fans. The people in the rocketed areas have been living in the shelters fo 13 days
How many days could you live and sleep with your neighbours in a small windowless room listening to bombings, sirens and planes going overhead?
Consider how the simplest routines of life have changed:
Because the area is shelled, all banks, post offices, grocery stores, summer camps are closed. No technicians come to fix your fridge or whatever. The ATM machines ran out of cash...who is willing to go and refill them?
Do you go to work or not? Well if your place of work has a bomb shelter, then it is safe.....well, not for the man who was killed at work yesterday. He had on a walkman and didn't hear the siren or the rocket that blew up beside him.
And what about just getting to work? The man killed in Haifa yesterday was riddled by ball bearings from a shell that landed beside his car as he was driving.
People who don't go to work don't get paid and I am not referring to sales executives or professionals who can make it without a month's pay. I am referring to most of the people in the north who are simple, blue collar workers. What about farmers that have to harvest and feed farm live stock? Should they chance being caught out in the open during a rocket attack?
The other day when Benay and I bought toys to take to kids in shelters, the toy store said they were running out of stock. Why? Because the toy wholeseller's warehouse was in Haifa and his delivery man refuses to drive around giving out toys. Understandable.
So what I am trying to explain is that the situation is not simple. In fact it is very hard for the people up north just from a day to day "simple things" in life point of view.
Getting them out for a few days is important not just for their physical well being... it is also for their sanity.
All the best,
Benay Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Milwaukee, Wisconsin 31 years ago, and co-authored the book, Waiting for Peace - How Israelis Live with Terrorism with Liza Wiemer. Jeff Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Toronto, Canada 34 years ago. He is a licensed tour guide and a civil engineer. Jeff and Benay lives in the hilltop community of Timrat overlooking the Jezreel Valley. They have five children.
Benay and Jeff have agreed to write of their experiences during these trying times, as Benay says, "I know it's important for your constituents to know what is happening and I know your constituents support and love Israel. I'm sure many of them have family and friends here too."